Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Studies

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Glen O. Jenson


Glen O. Jenson


Jay Schvaneveldt


Don Sisson


Pretest data from a two-year project entitled "An Early Intervention Program for Parents of Young Children at-Risk" were collected and analyzed, in a sample of 2,191 low-income parents, for Head Start participation and baseline information. Respondents participating in the sample were from the states of California, Delaware, Nevada, South Carolina, and Utah. For their participation in the study, respondents received a free subscription to age-paced newsletters, which contained information about appropriate growth expectancies, nutrition, and guidance for their child of 36 months or younger. Newsletters were mailed monthly to parents who had children 12 months and younger and every other month to parents with children older than 12 months.

Knowledge of infant/toddler development among Head Start and non-Head Start parents was measured by t-test comparisons. Univariate analysis of demographic influences on developmental knowledge was computed by a oneway ANOVA and Pearson correlation coefficients. Demographic variables measured were state of residence, race, educational level, marital status, employment status, attitude, income level, number of children, supplemental programs, and age of parent.

Findings revealed that Head Start parents did not have a significantly greater knowledge of infant/toddler development than non-Head Start parents who had more than one child. Developmental knowledge scores were higher for Head Start parents than non-Head Start first-time parents. All participating Head Start parents had at least two children, one in the Head Start program and one other child 25 months or younger. There were differences in developmental knowledge scores by state of residence, race, educational level, marital status, and employment status. Demographic variables found to have a positive correlation with developmental knowledge scores were attitude, income level, number of children, and age of parents. There was a negative correlation with the effect of supplemental programs. Programs tested for this effect were AFDC, Food Stamps, Medicaid, WIC, Social Security, and Head Start. A greater proportion of Head Start parents participated in these income-assistance programs, which may have influenced their scores for child development knowledge.